Medicines for Ireland has announced the appointment of Mylan Ireland Country Manager, Owen McKeon, as new chairperson of the organisation, taking over from Sandra Gannon (Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland) and Jeffrey Walsh (Pinewood Healthcare).

The appointment will mark the first change in leadership since the organisation’s launch in June 2017.

Since its launch, Medicines for Ireland has engaged with the Minister and Department of Health and wider Government on a number of policy issues and has developed long-term road map for the procurement and supply of medicines in Ireland. Key amongst these has been an ambitious and comprehensive National Medicines Strategy. The organisation has been urging Minister Harris to put in place such a blue-print for the long-term procurement, supply and usage of medicines in Ireland.

Sandra Gannon, outgoing Chairperson of Medicines for Ireland, said: “We are pleased to welcome Mr McKeon as incoming Medicines for Ireland’s chairperson. He brings a breadth of experience to the role that further supports the goals and ambitions of the organisation. Medicines for Ireland has a full programme of work in development for the next 12 months and Owen will play a key part in its roll-out and implementation”.

Jeffrey Walsh, Head of Retail at Pinewood Healthcare, added: “Mr McKeon and Mylan have contributed greatly to the success of Medicines for Ireland since its launch, so as Owen now takes over the role of Chairperson he is already well-attuned to the priorities of the organisation and our member companies. Brexit and the introduction of the Falsified Medicines Directive in particular are just two of the key issues which our sector now faces over the coming months.”

Commenting on his appointment, McKeon said: “It is an honour to be chosen to lead Medicines for Ireland as we approach our one-year anniversary. The organisation has already done much to raise awareness of the issues facing which are critical to supporting access and affordability of medicines for Irish patients. Outside of Ireland, we have also been engaging with European policymakers to promote the interests of Ireland’s pharmaceutical sector, including hosting a Policy Forum in the European Parliament last year.

“As we look to the future, Medicines for Ireland will continue to engage with the Minister for Health, HSE and Government on key issues, especially on expanding access and usage of generic and biosimilar medicines. In Ireland, we continue to remain well below what is the norm in most other European States, without any justification for this. This has to change.

I look forward to leading Medicines for Ireland on these issues ensuring that Ireland’s approach to medicines serves the best interests of patients and taxpayers.”